Hurricane Irma: Sign language interpreter steals show as governor gives briefing

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Hurricane Irma: Sign language interpreter steals show as governor gives briefing

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Matthew Ward/Getty Images/Dorling Kindersley
Hands demonstrating the complete US manual alphabet, gesturing the letters 'A' to 'Z', front view.

As Floridians braced for Hurricane Irma and its impact on the Sunshine State, one person took the spotlight and spread a little bit of levity during the stressful and serious situation.

During Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s press briefing Saturday, many were focused not on what the head of the state was saying, but rather on the man tasked with giving that message to those who cannot hear.

The sign language interpreter got the message across with his facial expressions, which included bulging his eyes and sticking out his tongue, and what looked like jazz hands when he signed what the governor was saying to describe water that “flows in fast, very fast, then it flows out,” The Daily Mail reported.

Some of the responses on Twitter were just as good as the unidentified interpreter’s expressions.

One person said they couldn’t hear Scott over the interpreter’s “shouting,” the Daily Mail reported.

He even caught the attention of a celebrity.

This isn’t the first time an interpreter took the spotlight from a government official.

During New  York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s press conferences during and after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Lydia Callis was named “Hurricane Sandy’s breakout star” by New York Magazine.

According to The Atlantic, the movements are not out of the ordinary. Sign language uses body movements and facial expressions as grammar and as adverbs and adjectives.

For more on the use of facial and hand movements and sign language, click here.

VIDEO: Scenes From Hurricane Irma
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